In sure relationships, it could take months—nay, years—for one aspect to disclose his/her loopy. It takes Face/Off a shade over two minutes.
The hazy, washed-out palette, porn ‘stache on Nicolas Cage’s face, and smile on John Travolta’s informs us that we’re in flashback. We look like in Griffith Park, which strikes us as odd on condition that Cage has assembled a sniper rifle on a grassy knoll in full view of oldsters, kids, and semi-employed fashions strolling their chorkies. Cage is staring down the barrel of the aforementioned high-caliber weapon at Travolta, who’s giving his cute younger boy face-waterfalls on a carousel. In between straw-sips of some mysterious beverage (in all probability an Orangina, as a result of Nic Cage), the mustachioed baddie fires off a shot that manages to cross via Travolta’s again and into the top of his son, flinging father and little one off the not-so-merry-go-round. Cage is shocked—so shocked that he lets Travolta reside—whereas Travolta is in a state of complete agony, staring up on the sky and cursing Xenu.
Two minutes later—that’s, on the movie’s four-minute mark—we’ve jumped six years forward to the present-day. Cage, now clean-shaven and dressed as a priest, is stashing a grimy bomb at a conference middle in Downtown L.A. After finishing his activity, he approaches a teenage church choir, dancing like a maniac. His eyes meet these of a fetching, probably-underage blonde lady who, in opposition to all rhyme or purpose, seems to be into no matter Father Cage is promoting. He sidles as much as the lady, moans, licks her ear, and gropes her butt, earlier than unleashing the craziest rattling O-face you’ve ever seen.
However wait, there’s extra. Within the very subsequent scene, we’re knowledgeable that Cage is boarding a personal jet about to take off at LAX, and earlier than you’ll be able to say regardless of all my rage I’m nonetheless only a Nicolas Cage, Travolta’s FBI agent is on stated airstrip in a Humvee taking part in rooster with the airplane. However let’s again up a couple of minute or so, as a result of previous to the truck-plane standoff, Cage, decked out in a pink silk shirt with twin gold pistols, is being serviced by a stewardess onboard the jet. The stewardess, who’s dressed like a librarian (turtleneck sweater, beige go well with), apparently can’t resist La Cage’s killer pickup line: “If I had been to let you suck my tongue, would you be grateful?”
Or can she! We quickly be taught that the stewardess is definitely an undercover FBI agent, making her essentially the most conservatively-dressed honeytrap within the historical past of honeytraps.
Air Cage is downed by Travolta, and an operatic airplane hangar shootout ensues, replete with slow-mo, twin-gun dives and Mexican standoffs galore. Some random FBI man’s ear is shot off, and Nic Cage and his Igor-like brother are captured by Travolta and his G-Males. BOOM. The film’s over, and we’re solely 12 minutes and alter in.
Simply kidding. You see, Castor Troy (Cage) and his gimpy brother Pollux (Alessandro Nivola), nonetheless have that massive ol’ bomb hidden someplace in Los Angeles, and FBI Superagent Sean Archer (Travolta) and his crew—including Margaret Cho (!)—want to trace it down. So, they hatch a plan: utilizing an experimental new process, they’ll take away Castor’s face, who’s in a coma, and place it on Archer—whereas additionally adjusting his physique, hairline, voice, you identify it—thereby remodeling Archer into Castor. Then Archer (as Castor) will probe Pollux, who’s being housed in a futuristic sea-prison, and uncover the placement of the bomb.
Sadly for Archer (and the inimitable CCH Pounder, RIP), Castor wakes up from his coma, and strong-arms the surgeon into performing the identical surgical procedure on him, thereby remodeling him into Archer. And there you might have it: Archer (as Castor) should negotiate the felony underworld of the person who murdered his son on a goddamn carousel, and Castor should do the identical, taking part in home with Archer’s spouse, Dr. Eve Archer (Joan Allen), and his emo daughter Jamie, performed by Dominique Swain, all whereas posing as a person of the legislation. However actually, what transpires is a tremendously entertaining recreation of one-upmanship between Cage and Travolta, two wildly flamboyant performers—and all-around weirdos—who’ve by no means discovered a personality ceiling they weren’t recreation to shatter.
“I like Face/Off,” Travolta once told me. “And it’s true. Nic may be very playful, and I’m very playful, so all I’ve to do is get somebody who needs to play, and all he has to do is get somebody who needs to play, and he lastly discovered his match. We’d go, ‘Oh, for those who do that then I’m going to do this,’ and stored elevating the stakes. It was a good time.”
Did I point out it is a John Woo movie? Meaning extravagant motion set piece after extravagant motion set piece (on planes, in a dove-filled church, driving boats), a heartstring-tugging orchestral rating sometimes present in a sweeping romance, hilariously on-the-nose imagery (mirrors galore!), and habits that flouts conference. This isn’t a philosophical treatise on Descartes’ duality of man; that is an the whole lot and the kitchen sink motion flick that may rock your world.
There are such a lot of scenes—and characters—that defy conventional film logic in Face/Off. The science behind it (or lack thereof) is totally bonkers; Castor Troy’s official job title within the movie is “terrorist-for-hire” (so, a freelancer?); there’s a distant sea jail named Erewohn (an anagram for “nowhere”) the place everybody wears magnetic boots, which had been borrowed from the Tremendous Mario Bros. film (actually); Gina Gershon and Nick Cassavetes play a brother-and-sister pair who prefer to kiss one another on the mouth; Nic Cage screams “DIE!” each time he lands somebody in a dying grip; and Joan Allen is the film’s alternative babe, who repeatedly finds herself on the tip of Castor-as-Archer’s ogling. The one factor that really is smart on this film is Danny Masterson because the rapey boyfriend with a pink Corvette.
However the fact is, we wouldn’t have it another approach.